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© 2017 The Author(s) and 2017 ALPSP. The opportunity for authors to appeal against rejected manuscripts provides an important step in ensuring that high-quality and credible science is not incorrectly rejected from publication in the highest impact factor journals. However, little is known about editorial processes related to appeals and their outcomes. Our research investigated the number of appeals against rejected manuscripts, their success rates, and the current editorial processes for managing appeals amongst biomedical journals. We sent out an e-mail survey to a sample of 20 editorial teams worldwide, between January and August 2016. A descriptive summary of e-mail responses from editorial teams was collated. We found considerable variations in appeal processes amongst journals, with little evidence of any detailed, reproducible, or established appeal policies in operation. Journals disclosed limited information on the number of appeals received and their success rates. The credibility of an appeal process relies on robust, reproducible, and evidence-based policies, which do not seem to be currently established amongst biomedical journals. Further empirical evidence is needed to ascertain how variations in the appeal process may relate to successful publication.

Original publication




Journal article


Learned Publishing

Publication Date





227 - 231